Introducing HTML5 Game Development by Jesse Freeman (O’Reilly Media)

Jesse Freeman‘s Introducing HTML5 Game Development, Developing Games with Impact is an excellent read for anyone willing to get their hands dirty with JavaScript as language of choice for game development. It offers general insights on what is needed to develop a game. Topics include writing game design docs, using in game stats to analize player behavior, some asset preparation and more. However, it mainly offers a head start in developing JavaScript based games with the Impact game engine, covering next to all it’s features.


I did not get myself a copy of Impact. Just reviewing the book and not the Impact framework I did not see it as nessecary. Had impact been on sale like it was about a month or so ago I might have gotten my on copy (notch, notch, wink, wink).

The positives

Let’s start with those according to the feedback rules…

To me te book feels like a cookbook to get one specific game done (“type this here …”) at times. It however gives a good overview of most if not all ‘classes’ and possibilities of Impact and how to get up to speed with building a relatively small game with it. Using the accompanying level editor called Weltmeister Jesse shows you how to design levels, how to load them in Impact and bring the level to life. What else can you ask for?

Next to that more or less main goal of the book, you’ll get an overview of the whole process of game development. From initial idea to publishing (and possible deployment on iOS with a template Xcode project that comes with Impact). Good insights from someone who knows what he is talking about.

Finally it contains some heads up on HTML5 development. I’m afraid that is still nessecary with the way browser support is at the moment.

The negatives

The subtitle of book is a nice pun (and the name of the game framework is well chosen), but may be somewhat misleading for the less informed buyer of the book. Actually tagging along with Jesse in building your own game will set you back $99: the subtitle’s “Impact” refers not only to the effect games may aim to have on their player, but also to the commercial Impact game framework written in JavaScript. Just a fair warning ahead.

Another downside I think there is to the book is the intended audience as it states. Personally I don’t think this book is much use without having prior programming knowledge. If you have none, you’ll end up with a working game nonetheless, but I doubt you’ll understand why, how to change it or to build your own in any reasonable fashion.

Finally, usage of stats to analyze players behaviors is stressed, however, the examples may have been a bit more clear (I’m pretty much a GA noob)


Without having used the software, it seems like a real nice environment to work with. It comes with a good map editor, several debugging and profiling features. To help with the game mechanics there’s collision detection and particle systems and most needed features of the box so you can focus on the creative process.


I’d by the book if you want to do some JavaScript game dev, especially if it involves platform games. If you have no programming experience I would get some basics done first but I guess it all depends on your individual talent to pick up programming.
It is a quick read and gets you up to speed with Impact in about a day (or two).

Get HTML5 Game Development

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